New Endovascular Neurologist from Ethiopia settles in Harlingen

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Dr. Wondwossen Tekle

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Dr. Wondwossen Tekle now the 2nd specialist of this type in the Valley has settled in Harlingen.  Dr. Tekle has joined neurologists: Dr. Victoria Parada and Dr. Ameer Hassan.

Dr. Tekle and Dr. Hassan are now providing 24/7 coverage at Valley Baptist Medical Center- Harlingen for Endovascular Surgical Neurology Services.

Endovascular intervention can more than double the time window for treatment of strokes, and is an important part of the comprehensive stroke services at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.

Dr. Tekle specializes in neurology, stroke/cerebrovascular diseases, neurocritical care and neurointervention. He received his medical degree at Addis Ababa University, a state university in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He did his residency at George Washington University and completed two fellowships at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Tekle has been a neurologist since 2010. He was a U.S. Peace Corps Medical Officer and worked with UNICEF.

As part of Valley Baptist Hospital’s commitment to this community, Dr. Tekle did a presentation on “Mini-Strokes” or TIAs at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.

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The subject presented and explained by Dr. Tekle is possibly among the most important for Valley residents. For some time, strokes and cerebrovascular diseases have predominated the area. A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) — a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain, spinal cord or retina is commonly called a “ministroke”.

The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, but a TIA doesn’t destroy brain cells or cause permanent disability. However, TIAs may recur, and each TIA increases the risk of a subsequent stroke.

Free public presentations like those done by Dr. Tekle and Valley Baptist save lives. People who attend learn how important it is to recognize the symptoms.

If you suspect that you’ve had a TIA, seek immediate medical attention. You may need various diagnostic tests to help determine what caused the TIA.

Depending on the underlying cause, you may need medication to prevent blood clots or a carotid stenting/endarterectomy procedure to remove fatty deposits (plaques) from the arteries that supply blood to your brain.

In the short time he has been in the Valley, he already fell in love with the area and the people. “To be honest I have had a great experience so far,” he said. “I love the people, and the culture because they are loving, cheerful, and fun people.”

One aspect that Dr. Tekle is impressed with is when someone is sick, he sees from 10 to 15 people (family and friends of the patient) giving support to the families. “I feel like I am at home, that is what we do as well,” Dr. Tekle said.

He is originally from Ethiopia in the eastern part of Africa and south of Egypt and he told Mega Doctor News that one of his challenges for coming to the Rio Grande Valley is to learn Spanish. “I will learn quickly,” he said.

How did you end up in the U.S. Peace Corps? “I was working as a medical doctor in one of the major hospitals with 120 Peace Corps volunteers divided into three sectors, helping in health care, education, and environment.” He was running the central clinic located in the capital city, which is Lilongwe in the country called Malawi, one of the southern African nations. “We took care of the peace corps volunteers,” he said.

What in the world made you come to the Rio Grande Valley? “Dr. Ameer Hassan, he was the reason,” he stated.

“Just like Dr. Hassan is here, I am for the same reason,” Dr. Tekle said. “The disease burden in the Valley is significant.”

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